Poultry Husbandry to Support Food Security and Reduce Bushmeat Hunting

National Geographic Explorer Dr. Christopher Golden and his team of Harvard Planetary Health Scholars spent six weeks in Madagascar to better understand the human health impacts of environmental change. This series of stories will document this journey across Madagascar through their personal experiences.

This video showcases life near the Makira Natural Park of northeastern Madagascar, highlighting work that MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research) has been doing to stave off bushmeat hunting while supporting the nutritional needs of the community. Local Malagasy people prefer the taste of chicken but do not have easy access to it because it is prohibitively expensive and often victim to disease. Newcastle Disease Virus is a preventable disease affecting poultry that can wipe out entire flocks in a short time. This work has been done in collaboration with the Wildlife Health Network and IMVAVET, and with generous support from St. Louis Zoo WildCare Institute, among other partners. We hope that the dissemination of an effective vaccine will stabilize food security in the region.




Changing Planet

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Meet the Author
Dr. Christopher Golden is an ecologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an explorer at National Geographic. His research investigates the nexus of trends in global environmental change and human health. He received his BA from Harvard College where he created his own curriculum integrating courses in ecology, medical anthropology and development studies. He then received two graduate degrees from UC Berkeley: an MPH in Epidemiology with a focus in Nutrition, and a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy and Management focusing his studies in wildlife ecology and ecosystem services. Since 1999, Dr. Golden has been conducting environmental and public health research in Madagascar where he created a local research organization called MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research). In the local language, “mahery” means strength and this organization has been the sole research organization operating in Madagascar’s largest remaining tract of rainforest. This group supports 20 field staff and he has trained nearly 25 Malagasy university students in field research methods. Over the past several years, he has served as lead investigator on several research efforts: 1) the investigation of terrestrial wildlife declines in Madagascar on food security and human nutrition; 2) the investigation of marine fishery collapses in Madagascar (and across the globe) on food security and human nutrition; and 3) intervention analyses to determine solutions to wildlife harvest unsustainability and local health crises.